In the world of fiddly jobs, being a dentist has got to be one of the fiddlest.
Inspecting people’s mouths for 8 hours a day while holding tools can not only be tiring mentally, but it can also take its toll on your hands. After all, anyone who is required to hold a similar pose for multiple hours a day is going to get a stiff finger or 2 from time to time.
Therefore, if you are new to the area of practicing dentistry, you may be wondering if there are ways you can prevent your hand from cramping during a filling or crown. Yes, there are, and here are some simple hand exercises for you to do to keep your fingers nimble.
Make a Fist
The standard fist stretch can go a long way to combatting repetitive strain injuries in dentists.
It’s a simple stretch that everyone is familiar with. Just make a gentle fist and ensure that your thumbs are wrapped across the front of your fingers, not underneath. Hold the pose for one minute and then gently release and spread your fingers as wide as possible. Aim to repeat this stretch around 3-5 times per day to prevent those muscles from aching and cramping.
Lift with Your Fingers
Being a dentist is going to require you to have fingers that have an above-average range of motion. So, for better finger flexibility and motion, aim to do finger lifts a few times a week.
How do you do that? Start by placing your hand on a table or other flat surface, palm side down. Then, spread the fingers moderately and lift each finger (and your thumb) for around 2 seconds at a time, and then lower it. Repeating this exercise around 8-10 times with each digit is ideal and will prevent soreness in the fingers and the back of the hand.
You need your thumb to work as a dentist, as, well, it holds tools.
This exercise is simple and can be done when you have a spare moment between patients. If you feel tension building from your thumb down through your wrist, then you may need to up how often you perform this exercise.
Make a ‘thumbs up’ sign and then rotate the thumb clockwise and counterclockwise for a few seconds. Switch directions and do this for as long as you feel comfortable.
To help improve and extend your finger’s range of motion, you will need to move your hand to make claw shapes.
To do this, bend your fingers inward, and try to make the tips touch each finger base. Aim to do this for around 30-60 seconds at a time and then release. Try to repeat around 4 times with each hand to prevent soreness and cramps.
The health of the wrist is important too, and if it is not exercised correctly, you run the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Stretch one of your arms out in front of you and, with your palm facing forward, then using the other hand, gently pull the fingers towards your body. Hold this stretch for a few seconds and then repeat on the other hand. Try to perform this exercise around 10 times for each wrist.